Deerhounds everywhere in Scotland
Ricky, whilst at SKCC show this weekend had an interesting conversation with Glenn and Nicola Bailey of the Greyflax kennel. Nicola re-canted the story of when she was inspired to locate and purchase her first Scottish Deerhound. She told a rather fun tale of how she visited Scotland 28 years ago thinking she would find Deerhounds on every street corner only to be surprized to find that most of the people she spoke with, didn’t even know what kind of dog she was talking of.
This reminded Ricky of the regular events that so many Scots have encountered when they are travelling the world and become involved in conversation with a non Scot who has previously conversed with a Scotsman, they oft’ ask . . . ‘do you know Jock from Glasgow?’ as if we all live in the same street.
The conversation with Nicola and Glen has ignited a train of thought, to revisit how, where and who would know about Deerhounds in Scotland and what corners would you have to visit to find knowledge about, or of one.
Strangely enough, when Ricky was growing up, it was not uncommon to see many more breed of dog on the street, types that are more often only viewed at show arenas today.
His grandfather had Airedales, his father had Bedlingtons, I was informed Ricky was brought up by a Bedlington named Carlo, this may explain his temprament ha! ha!
Back then, in the Sixties, if you were to visit the Tally-Ho Public bar in Winchburgh, West Lothian on a Saturday afternoon, you might find Deerhounds, Whippets, Terriers and Lurchers gracing the outside of the pub as the working community enjoyed their afternoon pint and traded in game, fresh from the surrounding countryside, mostly obtained through the excitement of natural participation, but it did add flavour to the pot.
In 18th, 19th and early 20th century working communities (many, which historically, sprang up from highlanders in need of employ as they gravitated toward industry such as mills, mining, ship building) across Scotland, dogs have long been a source of pride, and with the increase in popularity of photography in the earlier part of the 20th century, it was not uncommon to dress yourself out in ‘Sunday Best’ and be photographed with your hound, similar to that of the image above.
This lifestyle and relationship of working dog amongst the working class was probably at it’s twilight period in the sixties/early seventies - a last of the summer wine so to speak - as lifestyles changed and many who would use dogs for ‘poaching’ became slightly more affluent, then the need to hunt good food was simply a matter of visiting one of the ever expanding local supermarket chains, the dogs use as hunter wained.
Although there has been recent report made of dogs illegaly running in hunt of deer, across central Scotland. This is possibly only reported to bolster the anti-hunting laws introduced in the UK forbidding the use of us hounds.
Strangely on the point of who knows deerhounds in Scotland, when I walk with Ricky its the hardend, tattoo bedecked, worky, the gamekeeper and estate owner that more often than not, identifies me as a deerhound - others who believe they know?! anounce ‘Oh a wolfhound’ or simply ask if I eat a lot, or bite, or most droll of all ‘you should put a saddle on him’. I look forward to the last comment for another several hundred times over the forthcoming years.
As for deerhounds on the corner, it may have been that Nicola visited the wrong ‘pubs’ in her quest to find a Scottish Deerhound or as Ricky pointed out to her, Scotland is a big place (if you were to flatten it all out), and there are lots of places to hide.
But not to worry, soon you will be able to view auld Rogue here, photographed on almost every corner of Scotland as I continue my adventures on the blog.
And as we say up here in Scotland . . .
‘Will ye no come back again!?’
Cheers from the Rogue